UPDATE: OK, Boras may need to find another mystery team, because MLB.com’s Mark Bowman is throwing cold water on the idea that the Braves are really interested in the guy:
From what I can gather, the Braves would become players in the Damon
sweepstakes if his price drops to somewhere in the neighborhood of $1-2
million. In other words, it’s not going to happen. Or as
one Major League source said, “it would take a miracle” for (the
Braves) to sign Damon.
Your move, Heyman.
8:00 A.M. Jon Heyman tweets that the Tigers “could be in play” for Johnny Damon. This comes a few hours after we learned that the Braves are still interested.
If this rumor had come two days ago I would have said that it was typical Boras smokescreen. He needs a second team involved, real or imagined, so that he can get the Braves to bid higher, and like clockwork comes some thin non-report about a second team courtesy of his alleged mouthpiece Heyman.
But then the Tigers signed Jose Valverde to ridiculous money yesterday. In light of that I think it’s safe to say that we really don’t know what’s motivating the Tigers these days, so yeah, I’d probably believe anything at this point.
Would it be a good fit? Probably would actually. As Heyman noted, Damon has always hit well in
Tiger Stadium Comerica Park (sorry; I’m still in mourning) and with the DH, there’s a better chance to keep him fresh and play a more defensively-minded lineup when need be.
Really, though, if Damon has truly lowered his asking price as some have suggested, he might be a good fit any number of places. No one doubts he can still hit. The only problem before recently was that he thought he was worth eight figures a year for two or three years.
From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Orioles “like” free agent starter Yovani Gallardo and “have reached out to him” to gauge his interest in coming to Baltimore and what that might cost.
Gallardo rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Rangers earlier this month and so his free agency is tied to draft pick compensation, but that shouldn’t hurt his bottom line all that much.
The 29-year-old right-hander posted a solid 3.42 ERA in 184 1/3 innings (33 starts) this past season for Texas and he pitched well in his one ALDS start.
Heyman reported a few weeks ago that the Diamondbacks are interested, and the Cubs, Blue Jays, and Dodgers were tied to him just ahead of the July 31 trade deadline.
David Price has expressed a desire to return to Toronto, where he finished out the 2015 season, but FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal writes Wednesday that the Blue Jays “are not expected to be a major factor in his free agency.”
The teams that should be considered serious suitors, per Rosenthal, are the Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, and Red Sox — all deep-pocketed teams looking to contend in 2016. Money is apparently the issue for the Blue Jays, who are currently owned by Rogers Communications.
Price registered an outstanding 2.45 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, and 225/47 K/BB ratio in 220 1/3 innings (32 starts) this past season between the Tigers and Jays, finishing second in the American League Cy Young Award race behind Dallas Keuchel of the Astros.
The 30-year-old left-hander is probably looking for a six- or seven-year contract worth more than $25 million per season. He is represented by agent Bo McKinnis.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote three weeks ago that the Marlins were probably going to explore an extension this winter with second baseman Dee Gordon. And it sounds like those talks are underway.
Via beat writer Joe Frisaro of MLB.com:
As a guest on MLB Network’s “Hot Stove” show Wednesday morning, Gordon confirmed his camp has been in talks with the Marlins regarding a multiyear deal. A source told MLB.com that the discussions are preliminary and have just recently started.
“My agent is doing the talking,” Gordon said on the show. “They’re just keeping me in the loop. I think it’s going pretty well right now. We’ll see how that goes. I’m just playing the waiting game. We’re going to do the right thing.”
The 27-year-old carries three more seasons of salary arbitration, so there’s no real rush to get something done before next spring. Gordon carries quite a bit of leverage after posting a career-best .333/.359/.418 slash line in 145 games this past season for the Fish. He led all major leaguers in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).
Bud Norris has found a home for his attempt at a bounceback season, signing a one-year deal with the Braves. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says it’s worth $2.5 million, which is a huge cut from his $8.8 million salary this year.
Norris had established himself as a solid mid-rotation starter from 2009-2014, but had a brutal 2015 season split between the Orioles and Padres with a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings and a late-season move to the bullpen.
In announcing the signing the Braves referred to Norris as a starting pitcher, so joining the rotation for a rebuilding team gives him a chance to get his career back on track with an eye on hitting the open market as a free agent again next offseason. And if he fares well, the Braves could use him to add a prospect or two at the trade deadline.